Otobo Otuada V. The State (1982) LLJR-SC

Otobo Otuada V. The State (1982)

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G. IRIKEFE, J.S.C.: The appellant in this case, while armed with a loaded dane gun, knocked viciously on the door to the apartment where the deceased lay sleeping calling him by name as he did so. This was quite late at night and as the deceased opened his door to come out, the appellant calmly and with the ultimate in deliberation, took aim with his dane gun and released a shot at the deceased. The shot struck home in the lower regions, leading to profuse bleeding from which the deceased died before medical aid could be obtained. The learned trial Judge (Amissah, J.,) considered all the evidence as well as every possible legal defence and came to the inescapable conclusion that the appellant was guilty of murder as charged. The appeal to the Court of Appeal, in my view, was rightly dismissed. I think both counsel are right in saying before us that they had nothing useful to urge in favour of this appellant. I hold that this appeal lacks substance and I would therefore dismiss it. Appeal dismissed and conviction and sentence are upheld.

M. BELLO, J.S.C.: The appellant and the deceased lived in the same compound. One night, the appellant went to wake up the deceased and when the latter opened the door of his room, the appellant shot him to death with his dane gun. His main defence at the trial was that he shot the deceased in self defence because the deceased has been tormenting him with witchcraft and in the night in question, the deceased had attempted to kill him with a cutlass. His counsel also feebly raised the defence of provocation, insanity and insane delusion in his closing address. The trial judge meticulously considered all the matters raised by the defence and rejected the same. His conviction of murder was affirmed by the Court of Appeal. Learned counsel for the appellant and the Deputy Solicitor-General have nothing useful to urge in favour of the appellant at the hearing of the appeal before us. I agree the appeal has no merit and it should be dismissed. The conviction and sentence are hereby re-affirmed.

C. IDIGBE, J.S.C.: I agree that this appeal is entirely devoid of merit. The Federal Court of Appeal, in confirming the sentence of death imposed on the appellant by the Ughelli High Court (Amissah, J.) considered all the possible legal defences that could be put in favour of the appellant who killed the deceased whom he shot dead with a gun in the belief that he had the power of witchcraft over him. Both learned counsel for the appellant and the respondent rightly, in my view, have stated that they have nothing to urge in favour of the appellant; I have myself carefully gone through the record of proceedings and cannot find anything in his favour. This appeal is therefore dismissed.

A. NNAMANI, J.S.C.: I have carefully read the record of proceedings and I agree with  both learned counsel for the appellant and respondent that there is nothing in law or fact that can usefully be urged in favour of the appellant. The appellant shot the deceased on the thigh after he claimed that while he was in his sleep, the deceased was worrying him with witchcraft. He claimed that when he went over to the deceased’s house at midnight, the deceased appeared with a matchet and would have cut him with  it. This was contrary to the testimony of eyewitnesses which was to the effect that appellant shot the deceased as he (deceased) opened the door of his house. The learned trial Judge fully considered the evidence before him and convicted the appellant for murder. The learned trial Judge also considered the defences of insanity, self defence, provocation and partial delusion raised by the appellant and rightly rejected them. The Federal Court of Appeal again considered these defences including that of witchcraft and rejected them. I see  no merit in this appeal and I would also dismiss it. The appeal  is dismissed. The conviction and sentence passed on the appellant are hereby affirmed.

M. L. UWAIS, J.S.C.:  I agree with both counsel for the appellant and the respondent that there is nothing useful that can be urged in favour of the appellant. The appellant admitted, at the trial, killing the deceased because he believed at the time of committing the murder that the deceased was going to kill him by means of witchcraft. No other defence was put up by him except during address when his counsel raised the defence of partial delusion. Both the High Court and the Federal Court of Appeal considered in detail the issues of the appellant’s belief in witchcraft and the defence raised in his counsel’s address and found no substance in them. I too cannot find any substance in them I will therefore dismiss the appeal and confirm the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal.


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